Press release -

Maritime And Coastguard Agency: Swansea Coastguard co-ordinate several rescues this afternoon

During a very busy afternoon at Swansea Coastguard, two particular incidents have stood out with safety messages for the public.

The first was called in at 1.45 this afternoon from a Barnstable man stuck on the cliff at Ilfracombe. He described himself as being on a hill facing the town. He had been with his family of four children and his wife and had slipped 45 foot from the top, but was now out of the line of their sight. He had shouted to the top to tell them he was ok but he was unable to go back up the hill. He described as holding on to a stone and that he was not injured. There was a further drop of over 300 foot below him.

The Ilfracombe and Mortehoe Coastguard Rescue Teams were immediately turned out and a rescue helicopter – R169 - was scrambled from RAF Chivenor. The man was recovered to the top by the air crew to the Coastguard Teams and after a check he departed from the scene with his family. In the meantime the helicopter was diverted to a further incident off shore where a vessel, the 33 foot ‘Fensee’ had run aground. It contained 14 people on board, 12 of them children who were on a birthday trip for a 13 year old girl on board. Swansea Coastguard immediately began to broadcast a relay mayday signal into the area and several vessels responded.

The vessel had run aground half a nautical mile north east off the Cardiff South Buoy. Everyone on board, bar one was wearing a lifejacket. They had no liferafts. The Penarth RNLI inshore and all weather lifeboats were launched and the lifeboat crew were able to get a tow on the vessel before it heeled over and they managed to tow it into deeper water. They were then escorted back into the Cardiff Barrage by the lifeboat and a harbour launch to be met by the Penarth Coastguard Rescue Team. Some of the children were sea sick but none needed medical evacuation.

Dave Jones, Duty Watch Manager said

"Among a number of incidents today these two stand out. Firstly the man who slipped down the cliff was very lucky indeed. A girl had been lost in the area some time ago falling from the same cliff. As the weather begins to warm up and people are tempted to picnic in the vicinity of cliffs we would ask them to take extra care and not explore too close to the cliff edge.

In the second incident it seemed to have been a nautical misjudgment. He was out in low water with the wind and tide against him and he realised – too late – he was in the wrong position. Fortunately all – bar one – were wearing lifejackets. If you’re out sailing over the next few please check with the Coastguard on tides, forecast and seas before you set out. It can save you time and difficulty later on."

Notes to editors

-The MCA is a partner in the Sea Vision UK campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the sea and maritime activities. Sea Vision promotes the importance and economic value of the sector and works to highlight the exciting range of activities and career opportunities available to young people within the UK growing maritime sector.

- Stay safe - before heading out on the water get trained, check weather and tides, wear a lifejacket, avoid alcohol and keep in touch

- Follow us on Twitter. Find us at MCA_media


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  • dave jones
  • duty watch manager